Afghanistan, Boehner, Cisco, claims, debt ceiling, default, Iraq, layoffs, Lockheed Martin, Medicaid, Medicare, mercenary army, Obama, Pelosi, SIGAR, Social Security, spending cuts, State Department, unemployment, Wall Street
“I met a girl who sang the blues, and I asked her for some happy news. She just smiled and turned away.”
“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi acknowledged Friday that Democrats may reluctantly accept a last-minute compromise to avoid a default that involves up to $2.5 trillion in spending cuts — without agreed-upon new tax revenues — if Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are protected from the debt limit brinksmanship.”
Yes, by all means, let’s cut spending. Never mind this:
“Companies are laying off employees at a level not seen in nearly a year, hobbling the job market and intensifying fears about the pace of the economic recovery.
Cisco Systems Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and troubled bookstore chain Borders Group Inc. are among those that have recently announced hefty cuts, while recent government numbers underscore how companies have shifted toward cutting jobs.
The increase in layoffs is a key reason why the U.S. recorded an average of only 21,500 new jobs over the past two months, far below the level needed to bring down unemployment, which now stands at 9.2%.”
“Initial weekly unemployment claims increased to 418,000. The 4 week moving average is 421,250. A weekly average above 400,000 does not indicate job growth and we now have a pattern of perpetual disaster for U.S. citizens trying to earn a living.”
The Money Party has some questions and answers on Obama’s handling of the budget
never let a good crisis go to waste. Here’s just one:
“Question: Why did President Obama put Social Security and Medicare on the table in the budget negotiations when 80% of the people oppose cuts to these programs?
Answer: The president is not in office to represent those people. He was selected, funded and carried over the finish line by corporate America. Look at the appointment of Wall Streeter Timothy Geithner, the bailouts, and the failure to prosecute any of the crooks who caused the current recession. He’s serving the people who put him in office. Those people don’t need Social Security and Medicare.”
Not only serving the people who put him in office, but serving those who he is depending on to keep him there:
“Among big fundraisers, Obama has drawn close to a third of his money from people in the finance industry, up from 20% during his 2008 campaign, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The amount raised so far is more than two-thirds what Wall Street elites helped Obama raise in his entire 2008 campaign. And it is enough to make the finance world the single largest source of big-ticket donations for Obama.”
While we cut the social safety net out from under our most vulnerable at home, billions are going unaccounted for in Afghanistan:
“SIGAR [Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction] found that U.S. agencies have limited visibility over U.S. cash that enters the Afghan economy — leaving it vulnerable to fraud and diversion to the insurgency…”SIGAR auditors found that U.S. agencies have not done all they can to safeguard U.S. funds, and the Afghan government has not provided the cooperation needed to build a strong, secure financial system.”
Also on the Endless War front, the State Department is telling the Special Inspector General in Iraq to mind his own business when it comes to State’s mercenary army in that country:
“By January 2012, the State Department will do something it’s never done before: command a mercenary army the size of a heavy combat brigade. That’s the plan to provide security for its diplomats in Iraq once the U.S. military withdraws. And no one outside State knows anything more, as the department has gone to war with its independent government watchdog to keep its plan a secret.
Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), is essentially in the dark about one of the most complex and dangerous endeavors the State Department has ever undertaken, one with huge implications for the future of the United States in Iraq. “Our audit of the program is making no progress,” Bowen tells Danger Room.
For months, Bowen’s team has tried to get basic information out of the State Department about how it will command its assembled army of about 5,500 private security contractors. How many State contracting officials will oversee how many hired guns? What are the rules of engagement for the guards? What’s the system for reporting a security danger, and for directing the guards’ response?
And for months, the State Department’s management chief, former Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, has given Bowen a clear response: That’s not your jurisdiction. You just deal with reconstruction, not security. Never mind that Bowen has audited over $1.2 billion worth of security contracts over seven years.”
To be continued…unfortunately.